Corporate culture: an organisation’s shared norms, values, attitudes and beliefs that characterize its policies and behaviors, and communicate its vision and purpose to stakeholders

In his book The Culture Cycle, James L. Heskett wrote that effective culture can account for 20-30% of the difference in corporate performance compared to “culturally unremarkable” competitors. Deloitte’s research also found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe corporate culture is important to a business’ success.

Here are 5 ways to build a strong, coherent, remarkable corporate culture and boost your company’s chances for success:

  1. Define your company’s vision, mission and goals

A healthy corporate culture cannot exist without goals. Define clear goals that are aligned with the company’s vision, mission and aspirations. Make sure employees are aware of these goals and how their work ties into these objectives. If possible, involve them in the goal-setting process so they know that their inputs matter.

  1. Make work meaningful and purposeful

The modern employer-employee relationship is no longer strictly transnational and driven by a ‘9 to 5’ schedule. Employees want to do work that has meaning and purpose, and goes beyond workflows and simple ‘profile-building’ to provide professional and personal satisfaction. To create a healthy company culture, provide meaningful work and let employees know their contributions make a difference to the company’s vision, mission and goals. Institute a reward and recognition programme to acknowledge their efforts and let them know their value.

  1. Promote open communication focused on ‘listening’

According to research by Culture IQ, 86% of employees at companies with strong cultures feel their senior leadership ‘listens’ to employees. It’s not enough to encourage employees to ask questions, provide feedback and offer suggestions. It is critical to do something with those suggestions and that can only start with listening. Make sure employees know that their ideas are valued even if they are not implemented. And needless to say, punishing employees for their honesty will not create a healthy culture.

  1. Make employee wellness a priority

The issue of mental health in the workplace is garnering attention all over the world. What does your company do to ensure that employees are mentally fit and therefore able and motivated to do the work assigned to them? To help them deal with pressure, institute a wellness programme or provide an on-staff psychologist. Encourage them to eat healthy, exercise and pursue hobbies outside work. Promote work-life balance and telecommuting.

  1. Ensure zero tolerance for disrespect

A company where disrespect, bullying and worse, harassment, are accepted as ‘normal’ will never be able to build a healthy culture or enjoy business success. Define the meaning of ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ behaviors. Design policies that ensure zero tolerance for employees (or management) who indulge in unacceptable behaviors. Institute a confidential helpline to promote openness and honesty. Encourage positivity and interactive social connections.

Culture-building is not a one-time, passive activity but an ongoing effort that incorporates elements of employee engagement and percolates across every level of the hierarchy.

What do you do to promote a healthy corporate culture in your company?

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